The Cabot Panthers picked a good time to break a three-game losing streak as they knocked off Searcy 51-32 on Friday at Panther Arena.
The game was the regular-season finale for the Panthers. They were coming off loses to Marion, West Memphis and Jonesboro.
“We just needed to get back on our feet,” Cabot coach Jerry Bridges said of his team, which improved to 16-10 overall and 7-7 in 7A/6A-East play. “We had to work for it tonight. It wasn’t handed to us. What I liked tonight was that I thought as the game went on, we got better. I saw a little more fight in us. We needed it; now, maybe come Wednesday, we’ve got an opportunity. And we’ve got a little more swagger back. Hopefully, we will be ready to play.”
Bridges was referring to his team’s first-round Class 7A state tournament game Wednesday against the Rogers Heritage War Eagles.
Against Searcy, Cabot trailed 9-7 after one quarter and 11-9 with 6:18 left in the first half. Cabot’s Jake Ferguson hit a three-pointer to start an 8-0 run to make the score 17-11. Hunter Southerland hit a short jumper and Hunter York hit a three-pointer to account for the run. Cabot led 17-14 at halftime.
Cabot took control of the game in the third quarter, outscoring the Lions 15-3 to lead 32-17 heading into the fourth quarter.
Cabot’s Michael Smith hit a short jumper early in the fourth quarter to make the score 34-17. From there, the Lions scored seven in a row to cut the deficit to 34-24. That was as close as Searcy would get as the Panthers outscored the Lions 17-8 the remainder of the game.
York led Cabot with 16 points. Smith had 10 points. Scoring six each were Nick Thomas, Southerland and Ferguson. Jerrod Barnes had three. Scoring two each were Jared Dixon and Adolfo Iglesias.
The game was the final home game for five Panther seniors – York, Thomas, Smith, Jeremiah Penner and Iglesias.
“I thought they all contributed tonight,” Bridges said. “I was happy and very proud for Michael Smith. He’s been struggling and it has been bothering him. I really think if Michael can sustain that, we’ve got a chance to win a game or two in the state tournament.”
Cabot lost to Jonesboro 59-36 earlier last week.
The Panthers trailed 8-6 after one quarter but the Golden Hurricane outscored Cabot 25-8 in the second quarter to lead 33-14 at halftime.
Southerland led Cabot with eight points. York had seven. Scoring four each were Garrett Rowe and Jared Dixon. Sebastian Zulch had three. Scoring two each were Ferguson, Smith, Iglesias and Chandler Casteel. Jeremiah Penner added a free throw.